Lakecaster Online

Walmart BFL
By Patty Lenderman

The Walmart Bass Fishing League (BFL) Cowboy division held it's "Super" two day event September 20-21, 2003 at Lake Sam Rayburn. There were 162 Boaters and 158 Co-Anglers participating. Day one was the elimination round, from which only the top 20 percent from each division would continue on to compete on day two.

A total cash purse of $36,693 will be paid to 32 places on the Boater side, while $17,893 is to be paid out in the Co-angler division for two day cumulative weights. It is the last event for these anglers to qualify for the Regional event on the Red River October 21-25.

Day 1 - The morning greeted the contenders with a blanket of haze resting on the playing field. A gentle breeze followed them through the day putting a slight ripple on the water. As the day progressed, the temperatures rose into the 80's and capped off with partly cloudy skies.

Coming into the weigh in site at Twin Dikes Marina in four separate flights timed fifteen minutes apart, it didn't take long before the lead was established. In the Boater division, R.D. Lewis of Hemphill, TX hoisted his 21 lb 15 oz sack to the scales that vaulted him into the lead. His kicker fish started the bull run on big bass weighing in at 7 lbs 4 oz. "I had fun all day" R.D. stated as he reported catching about 25 fish throughout the day. He caught his fish on Texas rigged worms, throwing in 4-5' depths with a little grass. His best bite came between 11-12:00. When asked what his plan for day two was, he stated that he planned on catching a lot of fish - hopefully.

Leading the Co-Angler division with 15 lbs 8 oz was Doug Morris of Baytown, TX. He brought his limit in on weightless Senko watermelon worms, black/white Texas rigged power worms and ½ oz black/blue jigs with craw trailers. He reported a sporadic bite, but best around 10:30 in 4'-8' depths near creeks and grass.

Top 5 leaders day 1 boater division -
1st 21 lbs 15 oz R.D. Lewis Hemphill, TX
2nd 19 lbs 11 oz Phil Addison Baytown, TX
3rd 18 lbs 0 oz Jeff Buchanan Lufkin, TX
4th 16 lbs 3 oz Scott Bailey Longview, TX
5th 15 lbs 14 oz Neal Childers Houston, TX
Big Bass - 7 lbs 10 oz Phil Addison Baytown, TX

Top 5 leaders day 1 co-angler division -
1st 15 lbs 8 oz Douglas Morris Baytown, TX
2nd 13 lbs 15 oz Clint Bridges Round Rock, TX
3rd 13 lbs 11 oz Mike Power Canyon Lake, TX
4th 12 lbs 2 oz Ken Denney Willis, TX
5th 12 lbs 2 oz David Hees Houston, TX
Big Bass - 7 lbs 13 oz Clint Bridges Round Rock, TX

Day two brought in a whole different weather scenario for the anglers to contend with. Thunderstorms in the early morning and then continued rain and drizzle throughout the rest of the day. The weigh in was conducted at Jasper Walmart, and store manager Michael Hill welcomed all of the contestants and spectators. The Co-anglers weighed in first starting with 32nd place from day one working up the ranks from there, then the Boaters in the same order. A lot of shifting was done in the final standings, both in the Boater and Co-Angler divisions.

Final Standings Boater division:
1st - $8,320 - 33 lbs 7 oz - Dicky Newberry of Houston, TX has had a phenomenal year in the BFL tournament trail. He is leader in the points standings going into the Regional competition in October. He also received an extra $1,000 from the Ranger Cup program as well as another $1,000 check from Garmin. At the end of day one he was sitting in 15th place, but bringing in his 20 lb 9 oz sack on the final day reeled in the winnings for him. He used a black buzz bait all day, fitted with a Lake Fork pork trailer. His fish were shallow, only in 2'-3' at a creek bend next to the bank. The fish were coming out of the edge of the grass, and he could only catch them from a small area. Most of his limit came before 8:00, but he did catch a few more two pounders on a Lake Fork ring fry. Dicky is sponsored by Castaway Rods, Skeeter Boats, Dawson Marine and Lake Fork Tackle.

2nd - $4,160 - 33 lbs 3 oz - Jeff Buchanan of Lufkin, TX came up from 3rd place day one to his final second place finish. He caught his fish both days using a white Stanley spinnerbait as well as a white buzz bait on a grassy point in 2'-8' depths. He said he was mainly fishing for the big bite. Jeff is sponsored by Kistler Rods, Stanley baits, Spinner Bait Special, Ranger Boats, Evinrude Motors, Lake Fork Tackle and Smelly Jelly.

3rd - $2,253 - 32 lbs 11 oz - R.D. Lewis of Hemphill, TX had a bad day in the rain, dropping from first place lead on day one to his third place finish. He said he just didn't execute well, jumped off a few and couldn't find his big bite. Less than a pound from a first place finish, it just happens that way sometimes. That's why they call it "fishing".

4th - $1,907 - 32 lbs 6 oz - Roy Sanford of Brookeland, TX
5th - $1,560 - 31 lbs 10 oz - Bob Bryant of Nacogdoches, TX

In the Co-Angler Division:
1st - $4,102 - 28 lbs 13 oz - Clint Bridges of Roundrock, TX came up from 2nd place at the end of day one to win first place in his division. For both days he found consistent bites on a 10" Gene Larew Texas rigged plum worm, swimming it through the grass. His best bites came early and he fished in 10' depths. Clint is sponsored by Purefishing.com.

2nd - $2,051 - 24 lbs 0 oz - Mike Power of Canyon Lake, TX threw Texas rigged worms across grass tops in 8-10' depths. His best bite also came early, and didn't have any to spare, just bagging his limits. Mike is sponsored by Oldham Jigs.

3rd - $1,111 - 22 lbs 13 oz - Ken Denney of Willis, TX shifted from 4th place to 3rd using Texas rigged plum apple and June bug worms. Only bringing in four fish on day one, he said he lost the 5th three times. He caught his fish around grass clumps in 6-8' depths. Ken is sponsored by Castaway rods.

4th - $940 - 22 lbs 12 oz - Douglas Morris of Baytown, TX
5th - $769 - 21 lbs 3 oz - Jimmy Cole, Jr of Montgomery, TX

The top 30 anglers from the five qualifying events in the Cowboy division will go on to fish in the Regional event on the Red River. At regionals, the full field of boaters and co-anglers will compete for two days to determine the top six who will advance to Saturday's final day of competition, when the winner is determined by total three day weight. All six boaters and co-anglers will automatically advance to the BFL All-American.

Whether you're an avid angler or just getting started in the sport of competitive fishing, there's a place for you in the Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League (BFL). The league's boater / co-angler format accommodates the skill levels of all anglers, pitting boaters against boaters and co-anglers against co-anglers. With 120 qualifying vents divided into 24 divisions, the Wal-Mart BFL is the nation's largest tournament circuit. In addition to qualifying events, the 2003 Wal-Mart BFL includes seven postseason regional competitions and one major championship - the Wal-Mart BFL All-American. For more information please call 270-252-1000 or visit their website at www.flwoutdoors.com.

Sponsors include: Walmart - EverStart Batteries - Garmin - Faded Glory - Land O Lakes - Lawry's Seasoning - Shop Vac - Fuji Film - Banana Boat - Chevy Trucks - Snickers - Ranger Boats - Rubbermaid - US Bank - Yamaha - 7 UP - Kellogg's - Energizer - Evinrude - Castrol - Stanley - Weed Eater - Minn Kota - BF Goodrich - Frito Lat
Associate Sponsors: Abu Garcia/Berkley - Champion Boats - Dean Foods - Eagle Claw - Hellmann's - Hover-Lure - Lipton Side Dishes - Maxwell House - Palmer & Cay - Plano - Skippy Peanut Butter - Solar Bat - Stratos Boats


Dicky Newberry takes 1st place boater division with a two day total weight of 33 lbs 7 oz

2nd place boater Jeff Buchanan brought in back to back limits that totalled 33 lbs 3 oz
< photos by Patty Lenderman >

Less than a pound out of first place, R.D. Lewis finished off in 3rd boater division with 32 lbs 11 oz

1st place Co-Angler Clint Bridges brought in two days of consistent weights which included his 7 lb 13 oz day 1 big bass

Taking 2nd place in the Co-Angler division was Mike Power with a two day total of 24 lbs even

3rd place Co-Angler Ken Denney had a hard time hooking his fifth fish on day 1 but caught 3rd place with a total two day weight of 22 lbs 13 oz

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